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Doris Hardeman - Nothing more than ears of wheat
Nothing more than ears of wheat, green-blue stalks, long, ribbon-like leaves, under a sheen of green and pink; ears of wheat, yellowing slightly, with an edge made pale pink by the dusty manner of flowering. And then; the rupture, as the beams from the sun determinately break their way through the heavy clouds.

It was the golden hour, that time of day when the ears of wheat shoot out over the top of the fields and catch the sun rays, shedding a golden luminous cast over their land. “This and only this is the life”, Susan sighs to herself, looking over the acres, the dried blades of grass prickling her bare ankles, the sun kissing her freckled shoulders.

“Oh Susan, how tired I am! How hungry! How my feet hurt! Please Susan, do tell me now, for I can not bear any much more, how far is it still?! Oh how is it even possible, we have already come across at least five, six, seven acres of wheat! All these acres and acres and acres and acres, and still no sight of our cottage?” little Elwood cries out, fighting back the tears that come bashing the hinds of his eyes like waves rolling in with the tide. He mustn’t cry, he will not, knowing very well he should enjoy every bit of the outdoors before the winter sets in. Embarrassed of his own frailty he swallows and blinks away the excess buildup of tears. Never has he seen a soul as beautiful as Susan, he must pull himself together.

“Oh dear little Elwood, I promise, it’s not that much further, look there!” cupping little Elwood’s hand with hers and giving it a gentle squeeze whilst pointing with her other to a distant cloud of smoke rising from the chimney of their cottage. “Look there little Elwood, your mother has already lit the fire. I swear to you now, to the drumming of my own heart, we’ll soon be home!”

Home is a place that shelters memories. Memories which often become contaminated with a pungent hint of nostalgic longing. Nostalgia tends to flirt with the mind whenever we feel uncertainty or displeasure towards our momentary wellbeing. Our imagination is controlled by the things we already know as real, so going back seems like a sensible mechanism to cope with the yet to come. Although there have been various theories on the predictions of time and its passing, the general idea of time-flow has predominantly been addressed in a one-directional fashion; past goes present goes future. Whilst living in an era that is hyper fixated on improvement, this future focused vision translates directly into the achievement of personal and evolutionary growth. Yet our ideas about the future remain sketched out and heavily curated by our knowledge of the past. When opting to eradicate the predestined journey of this time-flow we repetitively bump into a wall. When going forward, we inescapably go backwards as well and end up not moving much at all. To escape this forward-backward motion, one zones out, and enters a vacuum. Letting memories guide in and out of reality. Nothing is real until everything is. Time is away.

This is the story about little Elwood and Susan, who live a life we have all once dreamt of. This is the story about all the memories that failed you. This is the story of a puddle of mud; drawing you into its deep. This is a story about the price of bread. This is the story about a gust of summer wind blowing strands of hair across your face, painting your field of vision. This is the story about a forbidden fruit that tastes of the nectar which has been sucked from its flower. This is the story about a dying horse named Aether, his rider whispering in the horse’s ear, “always keep your eyes on the prize”. This is the story about a past life that looks nothing of what you thought it would. This is the story about a sunset bleeding in orange a luminous cast over its land. This is the story about nothing more than ears of wheat.

Doris Hardeman, 2021
Photo Credit: Jerlyn Heinzen